BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 26. In the midst of growing discussions about hydrogen as the potential 'new oil,' experts caution against overly optimistic comparisons, Trend reports.
The Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (OIES) believes that it is crucial to understand that hydrogen poses unique challenges in terms of transport, making it significantly more difficult and expensive compared to oil.
When evaluating the cost of transporting energy sources, a striking difference emerges. According to a comprehensive comparative analysis, after covering a distance of 1000 kilometers, the transport cost for oil amounts to a mere 1 to 2 percent of the delivered energy cost. Natural gas, while more expensive to transport than oil, still comes in at 3 to 5 percent. In contrast, the transport costs for both hydrogen and electricity soar to a staggering 5 to 20 percent of the energy's value. These figures, albeit varying depending on specific circumstances, highlight why hydrogen production predominantly occurs in proximity to its utilization.
The substantial disparities in transport costs stem from the inherent characteristics of hydrogen compared to other fuels. For instance, in its gaseous state within a pipeline, hydrogen possesses only about one-third of the volumetric energy density of natural gas.
Acknowledging these challenges, it's worth noting that hydrogen can indeed be safely transported through pipelines. As of 2022, approximately 4,500 kilometers of hydrogen pipelines were operational worldwide, primarily in the United States and Europe. However, when juxtaposed with the more than 1.2 million kilometers of natural gas transmission pipelines, the commercial deployment of hydrogen pipelines remains limited.
Looking toward a future characterized by decarbonized energy systems, a critical consideration emerges: the necessity to significantly reduce, if not entirely eliminate, the transport of oil and natural gas. This leaves long-distance energy transport options primarily between electrons and molecules, posing complex decisions for energy stakeholders.
In conclusion, while hydrogen holds promise as a green energy alternative, its transport challenges must be factored into any 'new oil' comparisons, especially as the world navigates the transition toward a more sustainable energy landscape.
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